Class of 2007: The Passionistas

Pub date August 28, 2007
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

SUPERLATIVE Most Likely to Succeed

QUOTE "We want the fashion line and the fragrance."

"We’d like to be pro — in the sense that we’d like to not work and have lots of money," Aaron Sunshine says of the Passionistas. Based on the group’s Kelley Stoltz–produced debut, God’s Boat (New and Used Records), Sunshine, fellow songwriter Myles Cooper, and bandmate Andrew Lux have earned the right to think big. Yeah, it’s hard to draw blood from a stone, but it’s even tougher to mine new blood from old rock music. Yet that’s exactly what the Passionistas do. If you’re a 21st-century modern lover, ready for post-Y2K "12XU" anthems, and you know you can’t hide your love forever, your dream soundtrack is ready. The Passionistas are so new and so classic they could revirginize an ancient whore.

They’ve got the punk smarts to cover Yoko Ono’s conflicted "No No No," to know fucking is a hot word not used often enough in rock lyrics, and to realize that it’s impossible for a song named "Teenage Jesus" to be lame. But make no mistake: the Passionistas have huge pop potential. They love Lil’ Wayne (Cooper: "He really frees himself of history to say what he feels"), they think Beyoncé’s aggressive shrillness is a sign of the times (Sunshine: "B-Day is like a hardcore album"), and they worship Aaliyah (Sunshine: "She and R. Kelly and Timbaland had this crazy alternative vision that is what we now think of as R&B"). Tom Sneddon is their antichrist. "We supported Michael Jackson through his entire trial," says Sunshine, a young man with a mission born and raised in the Mission. "We have a drum that has ‘Free the King of Pop’ painted on it."

The agnostic-to-atheist Cooper and Sunshine met in a math class at City College of San Francisco. They took the title God’s Boat from a speech by a contestant on Missy Elliott’s reality show The Road to Stardom. If their road to stardom is flooded, they’re ready to go the Noah’s ark route, or perhaps catch a ride on the American whales — seal-bullying orcas sporting stars and stripes — that are part of the Bay Area vista on their album’s Photoshopped back cover. Never descending into what Cooper disdainfully calls a "brofest," the Passionistas’ studio recording with longtime fan Stoltz is ready for the canon. "One Foot on a Banana Peel" is the best grandma-dis track ever, "Fucking Cold" is a boy-raised-on-riot-grrrl tantrum that makes the absolute most of leaping an octave, and if Lou Reed hadn’t turned into such a bore, he’d undoubtedly wish that he’d written "Going Gay." There’s nothing else to motherfucking say. (Johnny Ray Huston)

THE PASSIONISTAS With the Happy Hollows and the Dont’s. Thurs/30, 9 p.m., $7. Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St., SF. (415) 647-2888,